Manitoba’s Poverty Reduction Strategy



Budget 2023 lays out the Manitoba government’s continued commitment to create a better quality of life for Manitobans in need, building on the progress that has been achieved in reducing poverty.

Through collaborative work with the federal government and community organizations, the Manitoba government responded successfully in helping Manitobans cope with the economic disruptions and uncertainties caused by the pandemic. The child poverty rate in Manitoba improved significantly, from 19.3 per cent in 2015 to six per cent in 2020, a 69 per cent improvement.

While the government made a major stride in poverty reduction despite the pandemic, the task ahead remains challenging in the face of high inflation affecting Canada and nations around the world.

The government recognizes that inflation exacerbates the problem of poverty. Inflation erodes the purchasing value of incomes and savings. The impact of inflation on vulnerable Manitobans is more critical, as their limited incomes and savings are rendered even more inadequate to make ends meet.

As Manitoba moves into the new fiscal year, the government has already launched initiatives that seek to alleviate the burden of inflation on Manitobans. Three refundable tax credits were established (including The Family Affordability Package for families with children and low-income seniors, and the Carbon Tax Relief Fund), and the basic rates of Employment and Income Assistance supports were increased. In addition, income was provided from rebates through the School Tax Rebate and Manitoba Public Insurance, and by an increase to the minimum wage.

In 2023/24, the Manitoba government is focused on doing more to build on the momentum that has been put into action to make life more affordable for Manitobans, particularly for the most vulnerable. In addition to the affordability work, the government is committed to helping build stronger and safer communities while advancing reconciliation and collaboration. Manitoba is moving forward with actions that will continue to promote the wellbeing of vulnerable Manitobans in the upcoming year.

Poverty Reduction Strategy

Budget 2023 outlines the Manitoba government’s planned actions under the priorities and goals of Pathways to a Better Future: Manitoba’s Poverty Reduction Strategy , which affirms the government’s commitment to reduce poverty and social exclusion.

The strategy, launched in March 2019, aims to break the cycle of poverty by creating pathways to improve the lives of Manitobans at risk of or experiencing poverty. It promotes opportunities for economic inclusion and successful transitions through life.

To achieve its overall goal, the strategy includes a measurement framework, made up of a key target and a set of 13 indicators used to measure progress.

The key target of the strategy is to reduce child poverty rate by 25 per cent by 2025, relative to the 2015 baseline. Using the most recent data on the Market Basket Measure (MBM), Manitoba exceeded its target in 2020.

The child poverty rate improved by 69 per cent from 19.3 per cent in 2015 to six per cent in 2020. This means there were 35,000 fewer Manitoban children living in poverty in 2020 than in 2015. The table below shows detailed information for various demographic groups.

Low Income in Manitoba, 2015 - 2020, Statistics Canada, Market Basket Measure 1

Per cent Change







2015 to 2020

2019 to 2020

All Manitobans

Rate, per cent









Rank (1 is best)

















Rate, per cent









Rank (1 is best)

















Rate, per cent









Rank (1 is best)
















Persons in Lone-Parent Families

Rate, per cent









Rank (1 is best)
















1 Data from Statistics Canada’s 2018-base Market Basket Measure (MBM) series based on Canadian Income Survey. Data from 2015 to 2019 may differ from data earlier reported because of Statistics Canada’s population rebasing.

Taking a whole of government approach, and founded on the principles of reconciliation, community involvement and collaboration, Manitoba’s Poverty Reduction Strategy identifies six priority areas of focus to reduce poverty and social exclusion:

  • investing in Manitoba’s future prosperity through supports to children and youth;
  • working together to improve health outcomes and standard of living;
  • promoting economic inclusion through employment, education and training;
  • facilitating partnerships and supporting community-based organizations;
  • strengthening client-centred service delivery; and
  • making positive change through social innovation.

Budget 2023/24 presents the key poverty-related actions taken by the government along the six priority areas of the strategy.

Highlights of Government Actions in Priority Areas

Investing in Manitoba’s Future Prosperity through Supports to Children and Youth

Supports for Young Adults Grant Extension

The Manitoba government is committed to supporting better outcomes and successful transitions for youth and young adults. In 2023/24, Manitoba is continuing its funding for Supports for Young Adults Grant, which gives Child and Family Services (CFS) agencies the ability to extend existing supports to young adults who exited care as a temporary ward and beyond the age of 21. Over the last three fiscal years, more than $7-million has been allocated to extend supports to this demographic.

New Child-Care Spaces in Rural Communities

Over the next year, more than 2,600 new, regulated non-profit child-care spaces will open across the province with a focus on rural and northern communities as a result of a $94-million in vestment.

Funding for this project is being provided through the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement and is a collaborative approach with communities to support the development of and need for child-care spaces in Manitoba.

Local partners will provide a minimum of two acres of serviced land with 15 years of free rent and support services including snow removal, landscape maintenance and repairs. These support services reduce costs for child-care operators, ensuring long-term sustainability of centres.

Education Council

The Manitoba government is establishing the Manitoba Education Council to take a province-wide approach to planning, implementing and monitoring Manitoba’s K to 12 Education Action Plan.

The Manitoba Education Council will give members of the public, education partners and others an opportunity to share knowledge, experience and perspectives to enhance student achievement and well-being, as well as creating a forum to discuss and plan for broader issues within the education system.

Teacher’s Idea Fund

In 2023/24, Manitoba is investing in new projects under the Manitoba’s Teachers’ Idea Fund, a five-year, $25-million investment in the ideas and innovations of front-line teachers, staff and school leaders from across the province that support quality education and improve student outcomes.

Si nce 2021, $11-million has been committed to 162 projects. Ongoing partnerships and strong collaboration with and between schools are fostering opportunities to promote inclusion and learning that will help students reach their full potential for a successful future. Projects in the first year (2021/22) of the program highlighted positive outcomes such as improvements in attendance and engagement, numeracy and literacy, and mental health and well-being. Projects in the second year (2022/23) have an emphasis on mental health and well-being, including initiatives that focus on social and emotional learning and provide enhanced mental health resources and supports for children. In 2023/24, the focus will once again be on initiatives that support mental health and well-being.

School Nourishment Programs

School nourishment programs support healthy eating and food security for Manitoba children, especially during critical times such as the pandemic and high inflation. These programs are also encouraging school attendance, supporting learning and promoting life-long health and wellness.

In 2023/24, Manitoba is supporting the ongoing work to provide nourishment to children in partnership with the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba. Investments in the school nourishment programs were identified as a priority in the report of the Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education.

Working Together to Improve Health Outcomes and Standard of Living

Affordability Payments

Not only are Manitobans recovering from the pandemic, but they are also facing the burden of rising prices on everything from gasoline to groceries.

On Aug. 31, 2022, two new affordability payments were announced as part of the Family Affordability Package, which provides families with children and seniors living on a fixed income with benefits to help ease the burden of rising costs and high inflation.

1. Manitoba families with children under 18 and a family net income of less than $175,000 in 2021 were eligible to receive $250 for the first child and $200 for each additional child. An estimated 145,000 families with approximately 282,000 children benefitted, with an average cheque of approximately $440 per family, totalling $63-million in benefits.

2. Manitoba seniors with less than $40,000 in family income, who claimed a Education Property Tax Credit in 2021, were eligible to receive $300. This $16-million initiative helped approximately 52,500 senior households living on fixed incomes.

On Jan. 26, 2023, a new $200-million Carbon Tax Relief Fund was announced to help Manitobans cope with the negative effects of rising costs, from food to fuel. The fund will provide income-tested support payments of $225 per single person and $375 per couple to an estimated 700,000 Manitobans, with or without children.

All three of these payments have been or will be legislated as refundable tax credits and will not be taxable or affect eligibility for other tax credits.

Reducing the Tax Burden on Families

As inflation drives up the cost of living, the tax changes that have been put in place are providing financial relief to Manitobans. Indexing of the Basic Personal Amount and personal income tax brackets have been in place since 2017 and help to protect Manitoba taxpayers from the impacts of inflation.

Budget 2023 announces the largest ever enhancement to the Basic Personal Amount. The amount will be increased by $4,145 above the indexed amount, or nearly 40 per cent in 2023, from $10,855 to $15,000, with a return to annual indexing in 2024.

This measure will remove an additional 47,400 low-income taxpayers from the tax rolls in 2023. That is the equivalent of more than 90 per cent of the total population of Brandon no longer paying Manitoba income tax. When combined with increases to the Basic Personal Amount under indexing since 2017, nearly 75,000 low-income Manitobans will no longer be paying Manitoba income tax.

School Tax Rebate

Manitoba is continuing to phase out school taxes enabling Manitobans to keep more of their hard-earned money. In 2023, the School Tax Rebate will provide financial assistance to residential and farm property owners with an increase in the rebate to 50 per cent from 37.5 per cent in 2022. This will increase the average rebate for a homeowner to $774 in 2023 from $581 in 2022.

As landlords of residential properties are benefitting from the School Tax Rebate, Manitoba set the rent guidelines at zero per cent for 2022 and 2023. If material improvements are made to a property, landlords will still be able to apply for an above-guideline rent increase.

Minimum Wage Increase

To help low-income Manitobans who are struggling with the high cost of living, the Manitoba government introduced the Minimum Wage Adjustment Act on Nov. 18, 2022. Minimum wage increased by $1.55 on Oct. 1, 2022 from $11.95 to $13.50 following government consultations with labour groups and businesses. The new act will increase minimum wage by a further 65 cents to $14.15 on Apr. 1, 2023, for a total increase of $2.20 or over 18 per cent.

Next October, inflation indexing is expected to bring Manitoba’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Rent Assist

The Manitoba government recognizes that access to safe and affordable housing can improve the lives and health of low-income Manitobans. Unique to Manitoba, Rent Assist is a financial benefit for households who receive provincial income assistance and have shelter costs, as well as other low-income households renting in the private market who are not in receipt of income assistance.

Rent Assist benefits are indexed each year using Median Market Rent, as reported by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This ensures the benefit is directly tied to the actual cost of renting, and typically results in annual benefit increases.

In January 2023, Rent Assist indexing for recipients of income assistance, which includes both EIA and Manitoba Supports for Persons with Disabilities (Manitoba Supports), was increased to reflect 77 rather than 75 per cent of Median Market Rent. This resulted in maximum monthly benefits rising between $16 and $33, depending on the size of the household. This represents an approximate three per cent increase in benefits.

In 2023/24, Manitoba will continue increasing Rent Assist benefits through annual indexation, based on 77 per cent of Median Market Rent for households in receipt of income assistance and 80 per cent of Median Market Rent for low-income households not receiving income assistance.

Working Together to End Homelessness in Manitoba

The Manitoba government is working towards ending homelessness in the province by supporting people throughout their housing journey. The recently announced provincial homelessness strategy includes several initiatives for 2023/24.

To help people exit homelessness, the government has introduced initiatives to improve access to support services and affordable housing. This includes funding shelters to extend their operating hours during the winter and developing 400 new social housing units through the rent supplement program.

The government is also funding support service teams to assist people with finding and maintaining long-term housing. The teams will be developed to complement the new social housing supply and will support people exiting homelessness to secure housing, maintain their tenancies and access other provincial and community services.

Additional initiatives include:

  • support for a project to integrate and expand the use of the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System in the province;
  • funds for an environmental scan on homelessness in northern and rural communities;
  • a capital grant program for community organizations to develop new social rental housing, with a focus on transitional and supportive housing models;
  • annual funding for N’Dinawemak shelter and transitional housing services;
  • an extension of the Housing Supports Initiative of the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association;
  • funds to support the creation of community-based mentorship hubs for young adults who have exited the child welfare system;
  • funds to develop a public campaign to address discrimination against people experiencing homelessness;
  • a community-based income support program to provide funds to people awaiting enrollment on Employment and Income Assistance; and
  • new positions at Manitoba Housing to support tenants who have exited homelessness.

Increase in Social Housing and Housing Supports

Throughout 2023/24, Manitoba will be working on providing additional rent supplement units, and the acquisition or construction of new social housing units, while continuing with housing support programs that are benefitting Manitobans in need.

Manitoba Rent Relief Fund

The Manitoba Rent Relief Fund (MRRF) is an eviction prevention initiative that provides fast-access crisis intervention loans to bridge a temporary interruption of income or unexpected expense that causes rent or utility arrears and a pending eviction. The loans are interest-free, have flexible repayment terms and payments are made directly to the landlord or utility provider.

In addition to providing loans, MRRF staff connect Manitobans to income or employment resources, benefits such as Rent Assist, assistance with tax filing and financial management training.

Manitoba Tipi Mitawa

Funded by Manitoba Housing and administered by the Manitoba Real Estate Association, the Manitoba Tipi Mitawa Affordable Aboriginal Homeownership Program provides forgivable down payments and subsidized mortgage payments for housing within Winnipeg, purchased by qualifying Indigenous first-time homebuyers.

Portable Housing Benefit

The Portable Housing Benefit is a shelter benefit, accompanied by housing supports, for low-income individuals with a mental health disability who have an unstable housing situation that is interfering with their progress in recovery and/or positive participation in community life.

Rural Homeownership Program

The Rural Homeownership Program helps low- to moderate-income households purchase under-utilized single- and semi-detached homes in select rural communities at fair market value.

Northern Healthy Foods Initiative

The Northern Healthy Foods Initiative (NHFI) supports local and regional projects that contribute to the development of culturally relevant, healthy food systems, while improving health and well-being. The program aims to increase access to food by working with communities and coordinating efforts aligned with the program’s goals and objectives.

The NHFI provides $1.3-million annually to provincial partners and projects working towards food security in Northern Manitoba. Core NHFI projects and programming are delivered by five community-based regional partners who include: Bayline Regional Roundtable, Four Arrows Regional Health Authority, Frontier School Division, Food Matters Manitoba and the Northern Association of Community Councils.

Providing Mental Health Services and Supports

Persons with mental health problems face many challenges, including stigma and discrimination, which may prevent them from securing adequate education and meaningful employment leading them to a life of chronic poverty. Conversely, poverty can cause mental health problems through the social stress, stigma and insecurities that it creates.

Moving forward, Manitoba is investing in initiatives that provide mental health supports to Manitobans.

A Pathway to Mental Health and Community Wellness: A Roadmap for Manitoba

The government will move forward with the implementation of year two of the five-year A Pathway to Mental Health and Community Wellness: A Roadmap for Manitoba. This involves leading a whole-of-government approach to help improve health and well-being for individuals, families and communities.

Investments will continue to be made in core services to ensure that supports are available as close to home as possible for all Manitobans. This will include a focus on children and youth with complex needs who are often impacted by poverty. In collaboration with Indigenous communities, a provincial suicide prevention strategy will also be developed focusing on at-risk youth.

Recovery-Oriented System of Care

The Manitoba government is committing to a recovery-oriented system of care including investments in treatment and recovery for individuals with substance use and addictions challenges.

The government is dedicated to the support of a continuum of care including prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery for individuals affected by substance use and addiction.

Since October 2019, the Manitoba government has undertaken initiatives to improve mental health and addictions services throughout the province. These initiatives include Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics, medical and community-based withdrawal management services, mobile withdrawal management services, expansion of opiate agonist treatment, short- and long-term residential addictions treatment, after-care programming, supportive recovery housing, the Take-Home Naloxone Kit Program and the St. Boniface Street Links mobile outreach project, among others.

Promoting Economic Inclusion through Employment, Education and Training

Employment Supports for Adults with an Intellectual Disability

Supportive employment aims to foster inclusion in the community and in the workforce and empower people to enjoy greater autonomy and financial independence.

The Community Living disABILITY Services (CLDS) program is working towards strengthening employment services to support adults with an intellectual disability as they pursue employment goals in inclusive, community-based workplaces across the province.

This initiative will support CLDS participants who have identified competitive employment as a goal in their person-centred plans and are seeking assistance to overcome barriers to employment.

Employment Supports for Financial Independence

Manitobans recognize the dignity of work, and the opportunities for independence that come from employment. The Manitoba government is committed to supporting Manitobans to achieve financial independence by providing them the supports they need to achieve meaningful employment. For 2023/24, the government is taking supportive actions.

Enhanced Assessment Tools for Employment and Income Assistance

In 2023/24, as part of the department’s commitment to help clients achieve financial independence, Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) is enhancing its assessment tools to improve how the program assesses where each individual is at in their journey to financial independence. These assessment tools will enable the program to develop individualized supportive plans with clients that connect persons with community supports tailored to their needs.

Journey to Independence Fund

In 2021, the Manitoba government established a $20-million endowment fund with the Winnipeg Foundation to invest in initiatives that would support EIA clients to achieve milestones on their journeys to independence.

Using the annual revenue from the fund, the EIA program launched the Journey to Independence Fund in September 2022. Grants from the fund have been issued to various organizations across Manitoba for projects that will improve community participation and support meaningful transitions into the labour market in 2023/24.

By funding innovative and supportive programming, the fund will support Manitobans along their pathway to independence.

Indigenous Youth Programming - Expression of Interest

The Manitoba government is committed to offering more targeted and culturally-appropriate programming to individuals in receipt of Employment and Income Assistance.

In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, the Employment and Income Assistance program issued two expressions of interest to identify Indigenous-led organizations to design and deliver programming tailored to meet the unique needs of Indigenous youth aged 16 to 29 years of age.

Programming and services funded through these expressions of interest will bridge into 2023/24 and contribute to long-term independence for Indigenous youth.

Adult Learning Programming

Lack of education and low literacy are closely related with poverty. Adult learning and literacy programs provide the skills and education needed for personal and professional advancement and create pathways to meaningful employment and a better life for adult learners.

In 2023/24, the Manitoba government is working to sustain and enhance adult learning programming across the province by supporting adult education service providers through an innovative flexible funding model, which will ensure adequate financial assistance for planning and delivery of effective programs in a timely manner to more adult learners.

Supporting Access to Higher Education

Access to good, higher education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. In 2023/24, the Manitoba government is increasing supports for low-income students pursuing higher education and for post-secondary institutions.

Manitoba Student Aid and Bursary Fund

The Manitoba Bursary provides non-repayable, supplemental financial assistance to help lower-income Manitobans and Indigenous Manitobans access post-secondary educational opportunities. It is an up-front grant that provides up to $2,000 to eligible students who apply to Manitoba Student Aid. In addition, the Manitoba Bursary provides up to $1,500 as a top-up for eligible lower income Indigenous students.

As Manitobans face the challenges of rising cost of living and cost of education, the government is increasing its investment in the Manitoba Bursar y Fund in 2023/24 by $1.4-million to support all eligible students in need of educational assistance.

Increased Funding for Post-Sec ondary Institutions

Publicly-funded post-secondary institutions (PSIs) play an important role in providing the quality education that Manitoba students need to succeed in life. Manitoba is committed to increase investments in education and training and to implement policies and programs to improve education and training opportunities for Manitoba students.

In 2023/24, the Manitoba government is increasi ng its investment in PSIs. Amidst the financial pressures brought about by high inflation and the lingering impact of the pandemic, the increased financial assistance for post-secondary institutions is crucial in ensuring the sustainability of student programs and services that they provide.

Facilitating Partnerships and Supporting Community-Based Organizations

Funding for Community Programming

In 2023/24, Manitoba will provide funding for three community programs that previously operated as pilot projects.

Community Helpers

Wahbung Abinoojiik, one of two parallel community helper initiatives, is a strong community-driven initiative by Indigenous leadership and is led by a consortium including Blue Thunderbird Family Care Inc., Andrews Street Family Centre Inc., Mount Carmel Clinic and The Winnipeg Boldness Project.

This program delivers 24/7 culturally relevant, on-call services for families experiencing crisis and other challenges in the Point Douglas community. The initiative provides direct support to families to stabilize in community and prevent involvement or further involvement in the child welfare system.

Programming builds on the inherent strengths, capacity and resilience of the Indigenous community and empowers families to thrive.

Super Dads

Super Dads is a culturally-safe group teaching and healing parenting program, run by Mount Carmel Clinic. This program provides four sessions in one calendar year, with eight participants per session. This program is provided to fathers with Child and Family Services involvement or who are at high risk of Child and Family Services involvement.

Granny’s House - Expansion Site

Blue Thunderbird Family Care Inc. operates Granny’s House, a community-based home in Winnipeg that provides 24/7 access to temporary, out-of-home respite care to at-risk families with children not in care to prevent involvement with child welfare. Blue Thunderbird Family Care Inc. extended their program to expand to a second location due to waitlists and provide additional community respite care to at-risk families.

Community Supports to Address Gender-Based Violence and Exploitation

Manitoba recognizes the vital role of community organizations and agencies in delivering needed services to vulnerable Manitobans who are at-risk of or experiencing gender-based violence. In 2023/24, the Manitoba government is providing funding to community partners and agencies for key initiatives that will support victims of gender - based violence.

Family Violence Prevention Program Shelter Funding Model - Phase Two

In April 2022, the Manitoba government announced the introduction of a new funding model for shelters in the Family Violence Prevention Program. The funding model implementation strategy proposes a total of $5.1-million over three years from 2022/23 to 2024/25. The first phase of the model was provided in 2022 and amounted to $3.6-million. This funding is focused on addressing the rising costs of inflation experienced by agencies since the last shelter increase.

The second phase of this model, to be provided in 2023, will amount to $1.6-million and provide funding for the expansion of existing programming as well as provision of additional agency staff. The purpose of this funding is to improve access to programming and supports that assist vulnerable communities.

Manitoba Construction Sector Council/Clan Mothers Healing Village Training Initiative

The Manitoba government has partnered with the Manitoba Construction Council Sector and the Clan Mothers Healing Village to deliver a skilled trades initiative for Indigenous women who have experienced gender-based violence or exploitation.

The program will recruit and train 20 Indigenous women over a 37-week period. Cultural and land-based teaching and healing will be incorporated throughout the program. Upon completion of the program, participants will be employed by the all-woman construction company that the Clan Mothers Healing Village is establishing and will assist in the construction of the village site.

Food Currency Program

The Manitoba government is providing almost $1.1-million over three years to Direct Farm Manitoba to support its Manitoba Community Food Currency Program, which works to improve food security for Manitobans in need while also supporting local agri-businesses. The investment in the food security program builds on the Manitoba government’s effort to help families make ends meet.

Direct Farm Manitoba launched the Manitoba Community Food Currency Program in 2020 as a community-building initiative to empower Manitobans facing food insecurity by providing food currency that can be used to purchase locally produced fruit, vegetables, meat and processed foods at farmer’s markets. The Manitoba’s government’s investment will ensure 700 families in the province benefit from the program annually over the next three years.

Community-based social service organizations will identify families disproportionately affected by inflation and in need of healthy food. Each family will receive $28 in food currency per week for 14 weeks ($392 in total) during the summer market season from late June to early October. With up to 26 participating markets, the initiative will support families in Winnipeg and in rural areas.

Investing in Community Safety

Crime is closely associated with poverty and all its consequences. Where crime abounds, people are experiencing financial hardships, deprivation, homelessness, addiction, family disintegration and abuse.

Building a safe community for vulnerable Manitobans is paramount, as everyone deserves a safe place to live. In 2023/24, the Manitoba government continues its partnerships with community organizations to promote the safety and well-being of vulnerable Manitobans in low-income neighborhoods.

Downtown Community Safety Partnership

Downtown Winnipeg is at the core of the inner city where many Winnipeggers most in need live.

The Downtown Community Safety Partnership is a made-in-Winnipeg approach to creating safer and more welcoming downtown through the availability of cohesive support and non-emergency response to those in the community in need of assistance.

The program connects the downtown community with social services, including employment assistance, housing and shelter resources.

Winnipeg Bear Clan Patrol

The Winnipeg Bear Clan Patrol provides vital front-line community safety initiatives that support community wellness and deter crime. In 2023/24, Manitoba is providing new ongoing funding for the organization to support its long-term program sustainability and to ensure resources are in place to continue its street-level work in communities.

Building Sustainable Communities Program

The Building Sustainable Communities grant helps build thriving sustainable communities that provide a high quality of life for Manitobans. The grant leverages investments in community development by local governments, non-profit organizations and others.

Eligible community development projects include planning activities, organizational capacity building, community or regional initiatives, and community, culture or recreation capital infrastructure projects.

Building Sustainable Communities provides a grant contribution of 50 per cent for eligible project costs up to $75,000 and up to $300,000 for large capital projects. Since its launch in 2019, the program has committed more than $57-million to support more than 1,300 community-led projects and leveraged approximately $135-million from other funding sources.

As the program has been a huge success, the Manitoba government is providing program funding in 2023/24. Intake for 2023/24 grant funding started in November 2022 with an application deadline of Jan. 23, 2023.

Urban/Hometown - Green Team Program

The Urban/Hometown Green Team program is an application-based grant program that provides funding to non-profit organizations, education authorities, Northern Affairs Community councils, and municipal governments to create summer jobs for youth aged 15 to 29. The program supports Manitoba’s workforce and training development strategy by offering opportunities for youth to gain leadership skills and employment income for post-secondary education while strengthening Manitoba’s economy.

Non-profit organizations, education authorities and Northern Affairs Community councils are eligible to receive 100 per cent of wage costs and up to $250 for support costs for each approved employee. Municipal governments (excluding the City of Winnipeg) are eligible to receive 50 per cent of wages and up to $125 for support costs for each employee on a cost-shared basis.

The program has been effective in providing jobs for youth, and successfully used available funding each year. With positive outcomes, Manitoba is providing funding support to the program in 2023/24. Intake for 2023/24 grant funding started in November 2022 with an application deadline of Jan. 23, 2023.

Municipal Service Delivery Improvement Program

Manitobans depend on local governments to deliver important programs and services as effectively and efficiently as possible. That is why Manitob a is investing up to $5-million towards the Municipal Service Delivery Improvement Prog ram. For 2022, up to $1.35-million for nine projects under the program has been approved.

The funding support for the program will help municipalities and planning districts identify areas of potential improvement and enhance services without raising taxes.

Municipalities and planning districts can apply for provincial support through the program to conduct service delivery reviews and identify actionable recommendations for service improvements and potential cost savings that can be reinvested towards other core priorities.

Service programs eligible for review include transportation, safety and protection, water and sewer, waste management, recreation and culture, planning, general government administration and other core activities.

For example, the Yellowhead Community Recreation Centre/Operations Review was approved for funding in 2022. This integrated regional facility serves the Town of Neepawa, the Rural Municipality of Rosedale, the Rural Municipality of North Cypress-Langford and the Rural Municipality of Glenella-Lansdowne. This review will help ensure the centre continues to play a key role serving the community well into the future. Objectives for the review will focus on program viability, cost effective service delivery, operational efficiencies and long-term financial sustainability supported by reasonable user fees and appropriate levels of municipal funding. Project reporting will include a review of current conditions and opportunities, supported by a recommended implementation plan.

Another project receiving funding in 2022 included evaluating current recreational and cultural services funding delivered within the Rural Municipality of Two Borders. The rising costs of facility maintenance and operations combined with services delivered across a large geographical area are challenging the municipality to find a new service delivery approach to address these economic realities. Review objectives will focus on providing a more comprehensive approach based on a modernized funding model. Key products will include completion of an asset management plan and 10-year capital expenditure program.

Supporting Municipal Public Transit Systems

The Manitoba government is allocating more than $34-million over two years to help alleviate transit operating shortfalls related to reduced ridership caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide other related transit supports. Pending approval of th e 2023 Budget, up to $13.4-million will be provided to Winnipeg, Brandon, Selkirk, Flin Flon and Thompson to support the operation of their public transit systems.

This new provincial funding leverages and enhan ces the provision of $20.7-million in related federal funding administered by Manitoba in 2022. As part of the federal agreement, the Manitoba government is committed to work with these municipalities to advance shared priorities focused on improving housing supply and affordability for Manitobans that, together with effective transit systems, will improve the ability of all Manitobans to live more sustainably, in terms of community, economy and environment.

Support for Economic Development Partners

A prosperous Manitoba means higher incomes for Manitobans and lower poverty rate. Industry programs and partnerships with non-profit organizations in key industries contribute to job creation and economic prosperity.

Sector Council Program

In 2023/24, the government is entering into the next cycle of the four-year Sector Council Program agreements with non-profit organizations to develop new and expanded program activities to address skills and labour shortages and support economic recovery.

Through cross-sectoral collaboration and training, the program is an essential part of the government’s plan and commitment for a stronger, more prosperous Manitoba.

To incentivize new and expanded program activities, the government is increasing its annual investment in the program.

Supports for Young Entrepreneurs

Futurpreneur Canada is a non-profit organization that has been helping diverse young entrepreneurs build, launch and grow new businesses since 1996. In 2020, Manitoba entered into a $750,000 funding agreement with the organization over three fiscal years ending on Mar. 31, 2023. This funding has produced strong positive outcomes.

Since Futurpreneur’s partnership with the province, the organization has helped 91 businesses, including cash flow relief to clients during the pandemic to ensure that young entrepreneurs were supported through business challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

In 2023/24, Manitoba is investing in Futurpreneur to continue the organization’s very successful program.

Circles for Reconciliation

Manitoba’s poverty reduction strategy supports the ongoing process of establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in order to build trust, affirm historical agreements, address healing and create a more equitable and inclusive society.

Circles for Reconciliation is a Winnipeg-based national charity that facilitates small group gatherings between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants that aim to advance reconciliation. The Manitoba government is providing $167,000 in funding to support the ongoing operation of the program.

Strengthening Client-Centred Service Delivery

Transforming Income Assistance

As part of transforming income assistance to provide better services that are more tailored to the specific needs of clients, the Manitoba government has put in place for 2023/24 supportive important initiatives.

Manitoba Supports for Persons with Disabilities

The government launched Manitoba Supports, a new disability income support program that is separate and distinct from Employment and Income Assistance (EIA). Its creation was informed by what the government heard from Manitobans, and community stakeholders.

The new program is providing better supports and services for Manitobans living with severe and prolonged disabilities and who need help paying for basic living costs. Clients who enroll in this program will have access to the same financial, health and other benefits available to EIA clients.

Beginning in 2023/24, the basic needs amount will be indexed to the rate of inflation on an annual basis. Indexation will increase adequacy of benefits due to the unique expenses associated with having severe and prolonged disabilities, compounded by the rising cost of living.

Clients enrolled in this program will also receive:

  • an assigned financial worker to issue monthly benefits;
  • increased benefits of approximately $100 per month;
  • laundry and phone allowances automatically added to budgets;
  • ability to earn up to $12,000 per year before benefits are impacted; and
  • access to health benefits for two years after a file closes.

Clarification of Employment Obligations

Employment and Income Assistance clients enrolled in the general assistance or single parent categories and have children over the age of six are subject to employment or employment enhancement obligations.

Amendments to The Manitoba Assistance Act and assistance regulation will come into force on Apr. 1, 2023. These amendments clarify that employment obligations can also be satisfied through participation in supportive planning or treatment programs.

This is part of broader efforts to reframe EIA as a program of temporary financial assistance that provides assessment-informed and person-centred supports to help clients move towards financial independence.

Supportive Planning Incentive

The revised Manitoba Assistance Act retains a category for persons with medical barriers to employment or disabilities, which will be reframed from the disability category to the medical-barriers-to-full-employment category. This category will support clients who are unable to work for one year or longer due to a medical condition or disability, but whose disabilities do not meet the threshold of severe and prolonged for Manitoba Supports. This category does not have employment obligations, but clients are encouraged to participate in supportive planning.

Beginning in April 2023, clients in this category who choose to participate in supportive planning will be entitled to receive a $25 Supportive Planning Incentive. This could include a range of activities, from rehabilitative treatment to relevant education and training programs. Encouraging supportive planning aligns with the goals of income assistance transformation, and better supports clients with disabilities to move forward in their journey to independence.

Post-Bail Training Program

In 2022/23, the EIA program issued a reques t for proposals for up to $2-million in funding for a community organization to design and deliver a post-bail job-training program. A key component of this initiative is to ensure the organization will offer employment and training programming in 2023/24 with intensive and personalized wraparound supports, specifically for individuals on bail who are in receipt of Employment and Income Assistance.

Transformation Training for Employment and Income Assistance Counsellors

The EIA program is launching a new two-year training and development series to increase EIA program staff capacity to deliver services and work with clients in the context of the modernized program.

Training will be designed to ensure staff have exposure to diverse topics that affect low-income Manitobans and equip staff with a variety of resources and skills to support the varying needs of clients. This training will increase quality and consistency of service delivery across the province for staff to effectively support clients on their pathway to independence.

Seniors Strategy

Manitoba has a growing senior’s population. The Manitoba government is committed to supporting seniors to stay safe in their homes and communities, and to promote their wellbeing under a renewed Manitoba’s Seniors Strategy that was informed by public and stakeholder consultations.

As part of the strategy, Manitoba is investing in initiatives that are tailored to the specific needs of seniors. These person- and family-centred initiatives will provide essential services in areas such as housing, health needs, wellness, elder abuse services, service awareness and navigation, and caregiver supports.

Making Positive Change through Social Innovation

Outcomes Contracts

The Manitoba government’s Social Innovation Office enables the creation of unique and effective solutions to complex social problems often experienced by vulnerable populations.

In 2023/24, the Social Innovation Office will continue to support four outcomes contracts at various stages of development, launch an engagement plan with the philanthropic community, initiate the development of new outcomes contracts and administer solution labs to support government in achieving strategic priorities. Two outcomes contracts and one social innovation project are profiled below.

Social Innovation Outcome Contract: Women’s Heart Health

Poverty is closely tied to the health of an individual. Poor health inhibits a person’s ability to maintain a viable employment and increases their risk of living in poverty. In September 2021, the Manitoba government partnered with the Reh-Fit Centre and Victoria General Hospital Foundation to deliver Her Heart Her Way, a three-year program.

The program intake was announced in October 2022 and is aimed at reducing heart disease for women in Manitoba by improving behavioural and biometric measures that research has identified as major contributors to increasing the risk of heart disease.

The project objectives aim to reduce systolic blood pressure and increase physical activity, aligning to the government’s commitment to promote wellness and chronic disease prevention to improve the health outcomes for Manitobans.

Social Innovation Outcome Contract: Restoring the Sacred Bond:

In 2018/19, the Manitoba government partnered with the Southern First Nations Network of Care to deliver the landmark social impact bond in Manitoba, Restoring the Sacred Bond. The two-year project concluded in December 2021 and connected more than 100 expecting mothers assessed to be high risk of infant apprehension to Indigenous birth helpers who provided intense supports.

This initiative provided preventative care for expecting Indigenous mothers through a culturally appropriate lens as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murd ered Indigenous Women and Girls, and generated positive outcomes for the families it served.

An evaluation of the first of two program cohort participants was conducted in November 2022 and concluded that children in the program spent an average of 29 fewer days in care than children in a matched control group. These findings represent a full achievement of outcomes.

Social Innovation Project: Access to Menstrual Products

In September 2022, Manitoba Families and Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. to provide free menstrual products to schools and other agencies.

Throughout a three-year contract, Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. will provide 3.3-million free menstrual products and product dispensers to select school divisions and domestic violence shelters across the province.

The program is designed to remove barriers for Manitobans with little or no access to regular menstrual products. Products are distributed to the highest need sites in schools and in agencies serving low-income adults including domestic violence shelters.

Progress Indicators

The Poverty Reduction Strategy Act mandates that poverty and social inclusion indicators be established to measure the progress of Manitoba’s poverty reduction strategy.

The measurement framework of the strategy includes a set of 13 indicators, developed based on consultations with stakeholders and the need for alignment with the federal government’s poverty reduction strategy indicators.

Eight of the 13 indicators of Manitoba’s strategy are aligned with the federal strategy indicators. This allows for comparison with national trends and with other jurisdictions and supports the collaborative work among the different levels of government to reduce poverty.

The Market Basket Measure (MBM), Canada’s official poverty measure, forms part of the 13 indicators of Pathways to a Better Future. This indicator is used to measure Manitoba’s poverty rate, and the basis for monitoring the strategy’s achievement of its key target of reducing child poverty rate by 25 per cent by 2025 relative to 2015.

The other indicators provide a multi-dimensional view of poverty in Manitoba in areas that are strongly related to poverty such as employment, edu cation, skills, training, child care, child welfare, health housing and income inequality.

As required by legislation, indicators were formally registered in regulation in May 2019, and the Poverty Reduction Annual Report publishes the data on these indicators to present the progress made in reducing poverty and social exclusion every year.